Monday, September 18

poetry 6 / feeling autumnal / big news (edited!)

It's grey here, and rainy most of the day, and at about 5:30 the clouds parted and there was that fresh blue sky. Fresh makes me think of Hopkins (Girard Manley), and from there I'm leapfrogged into spring and love and hope and the optimism that keeps the world going around.

If you need healing,
just go to the doctor, I mean
that familiar spine, and open it. A lion waits.
A field of bobolinks.
The doorways
and sprinkled streets

and blackbirds.

It makes me think of my students, how much teaching changed my writing, changed my thinking (how it still does both!). How integral the act of generosity required by teaching is to the selfish act of writing for me. How they could come into the poetry classrom and leave changed, and leave me changed, too. How the world always seemed to have that certain smell on Tuesday nights, the smell of things opening. The smell of snow. Magic.

It is magic, propagating the love of words. Love of beauty. It is pure body, it happens inside the human being who has forgotten it can happen, or didn't know it could. It is lines like

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

--for their soundplay and their wordplay and their love of the imperfect (evident also by the oddity that sprung meter [which Hopkins developed--a 'broken' meter, or rhythm, to counter a more regular and traditional one] must have been). The poem is "Pied Beauty," and it should have lovely indents, as it does here, but Blogger doesn't let me.

Please don't be afraid to comment. I've gotten several lovely, kind emails from people who feel intimidated by the subject of poetry. Well, I can't lie: I do think there are 'right readings.' But I would never be anything but interested and grateful for your comments and your ideas and your thoughts on what I've put down in these little 'lessons.'

Because here it is fall, the season of back-to-school and cooling temperatures, and the smell of apples. And the lonely season (of mists and mellow fruitfulness! name that poet!), which makes having some invisible lines out there to you just a bit nicer.

I leave for France in eight days. I don't know what my access to internet will be like there (any tips on getting it set up, anyone? I will need it for a freelance job I have while I'm there), but I wanted to tell you the reason I will be back home in April, rather than staying on.

I wrote, as my thesis, a manuscript of poems. An excellent literary, non-profit publisher bought the manuscript this past July, and will publish it (with extremely unusual alacrity, for the industry) this spring. A real book. As in, go to your local bookstore and they will have it. Or you can ask them to have it. It already has its ISBN (edit: here it is! thanks to Kelly of Weaving Major. Wow! That sure makes it real). The title is Music for Landing Planes By. I feel quite surreal about it all, really. And now the cat's out of the bag. I'm coming home in April to do readings.

If you would like to read some poetry of mine before the book is released, I can maybe figure out a way to post a sample on my webpage. Should I?


Anonymous martha said...

yes please:)

10:11 PM  
Anonymous alyssa said...

Congratulations! That is so great. Having a book published is no easy feat and you must be so proud and happy. Have a wonderful trip. What perfect timing to be able to spend some time in France glowing in your new book's arrival.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

yes, please, again.

10:32 PM  
Blogger jenclair said...

How wonderful! Can't imagine the thrill you must feel each time you think about it. Please do post some of your poems.

When my daughter was young and complained about her freckles, I always said, "Glory be to God for dappled things!" I love Hopkins.

A published book of poetry and France, too! Hope your time in France is inspirational...

10:51 PM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

please do!

11:13 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

oh yes do please, just thrilled for you, i too have so enjoyed your words about poetry!

11:36 PM  
Anonymous meowgirl said...


12:40 AM  
Anonymous hildy said...

i join in with the others with : yes please!
and congratulations on having your poems published-
what a nice bon voyage gift.
i hope you will be able to post from france , i'm not ready for you to end your poetry lessons!

12:41 AM  
Blogger Shell said...

Yes, you should! Congratulations! Really, you'd know that some people wait years and years to be published, and some never are - you must be a wonderful poet indeed. I'd love to read some of your work. Your life sounds so romantic - jetsetting to France for work? *sigh* I hope you have time to take it all in and revel in it! :)

3:05 AM  
Anonymous amanda said...

Oh, that is SO exciting!!! I cannot wait to see it next spring! Congratulations!!

6:32 AM  
Blogger molly said...

"For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;"--I love that line....
beautiful poetry today. My husband is a big fan of Hopkins, but I have to confess, I haven't really read him, just get the highlights from my husband...but what I know of Hopkins I really enjoy.
A big cheer for getting your poetry published. so wonderful. I'd love to read a sample, too.
(and thank you for my wonderful, wonderful box of goodies...xo.)

7:36 AM  
Blogger penelope said...

I live in france and once lived in St Paul, if you need any help after your move please contact me I would love to help you.
Bravo for the book

7:42 AM  
Blogger hannah said...

of course you should! congratulations!!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Mama Urchin said...

congrats on the book, what an accomplishment

8:46 AM  
Blogger Lanea said...

Of course you should post a sample.

Congratulations on your book. That's wonderful news.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous blair said...

A book?! What news! Yes, please, let us have a sneek peek. xo

8:55 AM  
Anonymous laeroport said...

Yes, yes, please, yes. And heartfelt congratulations! What a fabulous accomplishment.

Pied Beauty has ALWAYS been a favorite - adazzle, dim - the sound of it makes me crazy and happy and oh so many things all at once. And Keats, Keats. I lived just a stone's throw from his house when I lived in London. It was inspiring just to walk through the door, to tread on his floors.....

If I don't comment between now and then, have a safe journey to your temporary home. I look forward to your installments from France. Go well and safely.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

oh yes please! and congratulations- can't wait until your book comes out. also bon voyage!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous kelly said...

yes, yes, yes! so fantastic... congratulations!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Jecca said...

Congratulations! That's awesome! A sneak peek would be fabulous.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

congratulations!! wunderbar!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...


I can't believe you placed the 'big news' third in your post. I am so delighted that your 'skylark' has been 'uncaged' and that we shall be able to read your poetry. As for web previews, I think you should decide, but I have to say I do love to read poetry in print.

(I went to a small but perfectly formed exhibition devoted to John Betjeman today. There was something very special about seeing the first editions of his books and fragments of his writing.)

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations, what big news. It must feel quite surreal, but also so wonderful!
(michelle @, for some reason the new google/blogger will not let me log in and comment)

2:49 PM  
Blogger lisa s said...

oh golly eireann - so much to say....

love how you talk about teaching... i feel so similarly.... i love when you say propagating the love of words.... i feel the same about the visual....

i love how this:
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
rolls off my tongue - even if i'm not saying it aloud...

and lastly - but most certainly not least - CONGRATULATIONS. i am not at all surprised - but so very very glad that a book of yours will be out in the world. if you come out west i hope to see you if you read somewhere? maybe even get a signed copy?? xoxo

3:49 PM  
Anonymous kelly said...

I'm a newcomer to your blog, directed here by Yarnstorm (Jane Brocket.) I've really enjoyed your thoughts on poetry. I'm a poet-wanna-be and you gave me some good stuff to think about. I wish I lived closer so I could take your class!

Found your book on Amazon, by the way - did you know it's there? they often show books about the same time an ISBN is issued. congratulations!! the ISBN is 1571314288 and the page is below - you can preorder it, everyone! :o)

oh, and blogger WILL allow you to
          manually indent.
even in the
          comment field!

At the beginning of the line type ampersand-n-b-s-p-semicolon. No brackets, just those six keystrokes. That's HTML code for "non-breaking space." Repeat it five times for an indent, or more or less as you like. (I used to have a blog...)

6:32 PM  
Blogger h&b said...

I just used internet cafe's when I was in France .. not sure if that will be suitable for you though ?

Depends on what you need, I guess.

Good luck !
And congrats on the book ! :)

6:54 PM  
Anonymous sally said...

Congratulations Eireann! What wonderful news! I just saw the book cover and it made me so happy for you. You are my one and only author friend...eek!

11:55 PM  
Anonymous aprill said...

that is fabulous news.
please post a preview!

8:43 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How very exciting! Congratulations Eireann! Have a great trip.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous laeroport said...

How exciting to see your book on AMAZON! I have added it to my Wish List so I won't lose track of it! Congratulations, once again!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous kristin said...

absolutely post us a sample!!! i'm so happy for you! congratulations!! :) and i love the book cover...i certainly hope to be able to attend your reading in April...congratulations again!!

1:43 PM  
Anonymous melissa said...

I would love to read some of your poetry. What exciting news, about your book!
I'm a recent convert to your site, and have been really enjoying your writing on poetry.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Austen G. said...

late on the list but no less sincere, congratulations on the book. that is a fantastic achievement. there's nothing quite like seeing your name on a printed page...

and yes, more poetry + posts from France would be great!

8:43 PM  
Anonymous geek+nerd said...

congrats on the book! that's lovely my dear! also, i wanted to thank you for the studio box of goodies - it's awesome. good luck in france, i hope that you're not away from blogging for too long :)

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Thank you for reminding me of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who I love, and who I had forgotten about in the whirl of life with four children.

Congratulations on the publication of your poems, it looks beautiful, perfect! We have a wonderful independant bookseller here in town and I am going to call up immediately and ask for it.

6:58 AM  

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